I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Archive for the ‘Blog Post (short for weblog)’ Category

R.I.P. Paul Baack

Friday, November 3rd, 2017

Just a brief post in tribute to Paul Baack, a remarkable man that I never met but knew of through my movie reviews here. More than ten years ago I first heard from Paul through his best friend Tom Zielinski, together the creators of a James Bond webzine called Her Majesty’s Secret Servant. They got a kick out of my DIE HARD 2 review where I described John McClane as the American and superior version of James Bond, and they thought it would be funny to have me review some actual 007 movies for them. If I remember right they sent me a DVD of THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH and a Blockbuster gift card to rent something better? They definitely sent me a large HMSS mug, because I use that to this day.

Paul – who was the namesake for a villain in the 1999 Bond continuation novel High Time to Kill – was left quadriplegic after a car hit him in 2003. He designed HMSS using voice-activated software, which amazes me. Occasionally over the years I would hear from Tom and Paul about a particular review, or thoughts on the latest Bond, and it always meant alot to me.

So here’s to Paul. I wish I could’ve met him and that he could’ve heard one of the times I sang “Thunderball” at karaoke. But at least I got to write him this review of THUNDERBALL and GOLDENEYE, which was a fun time for me.

My thoughts today are with Tom and the rest of Paul’s friends and family.

Here is a nice obituary from one of the regular HMSS contributors.

And from his family: http://www.countrysidefuneralhomes.com/obituary/paul-baack

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Ode to George Romero, Tobe Hooper and the Masters of Horror

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

After two years I was finally starting to get used to a post-Wes Craven world – now all the sudden we Fangorians find ourselves heading into Fall minus George Romero and Tobe Hooper, two of the largest shadows in horror. Like Craven, both of them made an iconic horror classic early on, and remained primarily in the genre for their whole careers, delivering many other gems across multiple decades. Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD and Hooper’s THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE are two of my most obsessed upon horror films, the two that seem to take turns being my All Time Favorite on any particular day. Just as important, Romero and Hooper each maintained a distinct voice that made their weaker movies still interesting when taken in context with the larger body of work.

When I think of Romero I think of independence. He and his Pittsburgh based commercial company Latent Image made NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD to break into features, a recipe they may have gotten from Herk Harvey’s CARNIVAL OF SOULS. For them it worked, but instead of moving to Hollywood, Romero built his empire in Pennsylvania and filmed almost all of his movies there. That includes his first studio movies, MONKEY SHINES and THE DARK HALF, both of which I think are underrated. Since he later moved to Toronto, his last three films, LAND OF THE DEAD, DIARY OF THE DEAD and SURVIVAL OF THE DEAD, are filmed around there. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Please bear with me

Monday, September 18th, 2017

Hey friends,

As I mentioned in one of the comment threads somewhere, an enormous rent increase has forced me to move suddenly. I wish I was a monk who could just sweep up and glide over to the new place, but the truth is I have endless waves of books, CDs, movies, magazines, papers and random crap to sort and pack and move or figure out how to part with. It has consumed all my time and energy and soul. I hope to have something ready to post soon, but I’m not sure I will. I’m sorry to say these next two weeks or so I will have to be on semi-hiatus.

So thank you for your patience. I look forward to things being back to normal (or better).

P.S. I haven’t even seen MOTHER! yet, can you believe that shit

Me carrying my things to the new apartment. (Except I feel like a stepped-on marionette just from carrying boxes.)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Death Wish remake trailer

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

There are a million reasons why Eli Roth’s DEATH WISH remake could be horrible. The trailer definitely leaves open the worry that it’s gonna be mainly about a white dude going around murdering black criminals for fun. In an interview I read somewhere, Roth was definitely conscious of that problem and wanted to be sure not to make a movie like that, so we’ll see how he handles it.

I can say that I have a friend who saw a test screening (I’m not sure if he’d want me to name him, so I won’t) and he was surprised to really like it. He assured me that Bruce is very good in it, it’s not one of his sleepwalking roles. So hopefully we’ll agree with him.

Either way, I hope they skip straight to a DEATH WISH 3 remake after this.

my DEATH WISH related reviews:

DEATH WISH
DEATH WISH II
DEATH WISH 3
DEATH WISH 4: THE CRACKDOWN
DEATH WISH V: THE FACE OF DEATH

DEATH SENTENCE

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Programming note

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Hey friends,

I usually try to do four reviews a week – this time I accidentally ended up one short. Most likely I won’t be posting again until Tuesday, except maybe some touristy tweets from Memphis, where I’ll be over the weekend for family/vacation type business. I look forward to getting back up to speed again soon. Have a good weekend everybody and as usual thanks for reading.

–VERN

p.s. I hope the shit doesn’t pop off this weekend!

 

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Happy Yaddle Appreciation Day

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Hey everybody. As you know, certain people enjoy lispy puns, and have turned “May the 4th” into the international day to celebrate Star Wars. Which seemed like a pretty good idea a few years ago when there wasn’t a new Star Wars movie coming out at all times.

You know I enjoy the Star Wars but in case some of you get sick of hearing about it today I thought it would be a good time to re-up one of my favorite series I’ve ever done, LUCAS MINUS STAR WARS. By going through 44 years of everything Lucas had his name on that was not Star Wars-related I think I really showed (or at least convinced myself) what a force (get it) he was in Hollywood even outside of his most beloved creation (Yaddle).

So here for your convenience are links to all Lucas reviews (including a few, like HOWARD THE DUCK, that I wrote before that series) in release order:

THX 1138
AMERICAN GRAFFITI
MORE AMERICAN GRAFFITI
KAGEMUSHA
BODY HEAT
RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK
TWICE UPON A TIME
INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM
MISHIMA: A LIFE IN FOUR CHAPTERS
LATINO
LABYRINTH
HOWARD THE DUCK
CAPTAIN EO
WILLOW
POWAQQATSI
TUCKER: THE MAN AND HIS DREAM
THE LAND BEFORE TIME
INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles
RADIOLAND MURDERS
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL
RED TAILS
STRANGE MAGIC

And, ah hell, I guess I should include my Star Wars writings too. “STAR WARS NO BAGGAGE REVIEWS” was also a proud time in outlawvern.com history, so here they are plus my Ewok ones and the post-Lucas ones:

STAR WARS
THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK
RETURN OF THE JEDI
THE EWOK ADVENTURE aka CARAVAN OF COURAGE
EWOKS: BATTLE FOR ENDOR
STAR WARS EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE
STAR WARS EPISODE II: ATTACK OF THE CLONES
STAR WARS EPISODE III: REVENGE OF THE SITH
DISNEY’S STAR WARS MINUS LUCAS: THE FORCE AWAKENS by Disney
ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS SUPPLEMENT

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

“The 30 Greatest, Straight-Up Ass-Kicking Action Movies of the Century” by me

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Hello friends,

I promise that tomorrow I’ll post my take on that one new movie, the most important movie of all time since Thursday. (It will be a spoiler-filled review so we can discuss all the business.) But today please allow me to shine the spotlight on this piece I did for the websight Thrillist about the best action movies of the modern age.

At first they approached me to do the greatest shootout scenes of all time. I felt unqualified and suggested this instead. During my research I found that at least a couple other major outlets have done a version of this subject and their choices have some overlap with mine, but I believe I discuss them in more depth than most people do. The assignment was a so-called listicle that is genuine analysis, not just clickbait.

If you’ve been a regular here for a while you won’t be surprised by most of my choices, but I really did put alot of work into it including rewatching some of the contenders and catching up on some things I had missed. I tried to make sure each entry addresses both the quality of the action and something more substantive about what makes the story or characters great.

My longer first draft said in the intro, “I know how this works. I fully expect you to scoff at some of my choices, snubs, and unscientific rankings. That is your duty as a free-thinking, list-reading movie lover.” So I encourge you to do that here. I have a hunch about certain exclusions that will be controversial, so I’m especially interested in what you guys would include on your lists that didn’t make mine.

Here’s the link:

The 30 Greatest, Straight-Up Ass-Kicking Action Movies of the Century

 

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Atomic Blonde trailer

Friday, March 10th, 2017

I mean honestly, I didn’t need any more information after the fight at the beginning. But yes, this is from the co-director of JOHN WICK. It’s based on a graphic novel, adapted by Kurt Johnstad, who I think did a good job on the 300 movies. And kudos for noting Charlize’s Academy Award after showing her kick a dude down some stairs. I got high hopes.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

Oscar shit 2017

Friday, February 24th, 2017

I’m a little less excited than usual for the Oscars this year. Maybe it’s because there’s nothing I’m passionately rooting for, like MAD MAX: FURY ROAD last time. Or maybe it’s because shit is so bad it’s harder for me to care about the small stuff at the moment. But I still like the tradition and as usual I made sure to watch all of the best picture nominees, so here are a few thoughts on that.

Yes, you are correct, there is no way to scientifically measure or rank the artistic success of movies, and there is politics involved and my very favorite movie of a given year never wins. But I think this year is a real good example of how you can look at what got nominated and get a good idea what our country, or at least our film industry, cares about at this moment in time.

Take HELL OR HIGH WATER. Personally I thought the political subtext was the clumsiest aspect of the movie, but I’m sure it’s what got it nominated. Not just a cops and robbers procedural, it’s about farmers and war vets tired of their people being screwed over by the banks. And beneath that it’s a reminder of the history of our country and who it was stolen from. I should watch it again because I bet it wouldn’t seem as heavy-handed as the first time. (read the rest of this shit…)

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

new article

Saturday, January 7th, 2017

I wrote a new piece, The State of Action Filmmaking, 2017, sort of a 2016 in review. I thought it was for The Village Voice actually but it has surfaced on the L.A. Weekly. So check it out. I am proud to get a big picture of Michael Jai White in the L.A. Weekly, I don’t know how often that happens.

THE ARTICLE IS HERE

 

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.